VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY:
Thank you for that very warm welcome, and
thank you to the Heritage Foundation for inviting me to this very
special meeting of the President's Club this evening. I want to
congratulate Heritage for the terrific work that you do to help
build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil
longtime participant in our political process, I do want to say how
much I appreciate--and so many of my colleagues appreciate--the
tremendous work that Heritage has done over the years. It's meant a
great deal to us, especially when we come back to government and
need the push and the drive that new ideas and new people give us.
And Heritage has been a very important part of that.
Building an America where opportunity,
prosperity, and civil society flourish is not a job for the
impatient or for the fainthearted. It takes courage, determination,
and brains, and an unwavering commitment to principle. All these
virtues were embodied in the career of one of America's greatest
conservatives, Clare Boothe Luce. It is fitting that the Heritage
Foundation has chosen to name its highest award after her. And it
is equally fitting that you have chosen to present the Clare Boothe
Luce Award to Lady Margaret Thatcher. Whenever I think of Margaret
Thatcher, I can't help but recall the final lines from
Shakespeare's King John, "Naught shall make us rue if England to
itself do rest but true."
the course of the 20th century there were many who sought to make
us rue the fundamental commitments of our civilization: our
commitments to limited government, to free markets, to democracy,
pluralism, and the rule of law. In the end, though, it was
freedom's enemies who were made to rue. And a good deal of the
credit for that happy outcome belongs to Lady Thatcher.
have no doubt that historians will be analyzing Lady Thatcher's
achievements for years and decades and perhaps even centuries to
come. To me, however, what stands out about Lady Thatcher's career
is that she has always been true to England--to the values, the
traditions and ideas that have enabled her small island to play
such a huge role in human events.
all great English men and women, Lady Thatcher has a passionate
love of freedom, a bone-deep contempt for tyrants, and a
willingness to do whatever is necessary to ensure freedom's
triumph. Lady Thatcher has also been blessed with the sturdy
British common sense to see through all of the high-sounding
rationalizations and justifications for state control of the
economy, and to recognize socialism for what it is--a recipe for
collective failure and national ruin.
Throughout her career, Lady Thatcher has
always demonstrated a bulldog-like British tenacity in standing by
her convictions and her friends--not only when times were good, but
even and especially when the going got tough. As she famously said
of herself, "This lady is not for turning."
lady is, however, for honoring. And it is now my special pleasure
to read the Clare Boothe Luce Award citation in honor of Lady
When the 20th century is seen years hence
through the long lens of history, two defining themes will surely
stand out: the clashes between socialism and capitalism, and
between totalitarianism and democracy. When future generations
learn how capitalism triumphed over socialism, and how the West won
the Cold War against Soviet communism, you will figure in that
story as a central hero.
Political and economic freedom prevailed
because your political leadership in Britain--like that of your
unfailing friend and ally Ronald Reagan in America--was guided not
by consensus but by conviction.
In recognizing your courageous leadership
in the face of great opposition, we recall the words you spoke in
tribute to Ronald Reagan on his 80th birthday:
It takes struggles in life to make
strength. It takes fight for principles to make fortitude. It takes
crises to give courage. And it takes singleness of purpose to reach
In the same spirit you paid that tribute
to him, we pay it now to you. With profound gratitude for your
character, for your special friendship to the United States, and
for your commitment to the cause of freedom, The Heritage
Foundation salutes Margaret Thatcher.
Chairman, Mr. Vice President, Ladies and Gentlemen:
President Cheney, you pay me particular distinction by your
presence here this evening, and I am delighted that you have been
allowed to "break cover." Indeed, you remind me of another intrepid
warrior for justice. As the verse goes:
They seek him here, they seek him
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in Heaven? Is he in Hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel!
Tonight Mr. Vice President, for once, we
know exactly where you are.
Clare Boothe Luce
enormously honoured to receive this award. It bears the name of one
of the most remarkable Americans of her day; and it has previously
been given to other great Americans. It is inspiring to be in such
company--and wonderful, as always at Heritage, to be among true
Clare Boothe Luce's generation fought the
twin evils of Nazism and communism. She was indeed in the forefront
of that fight. Nazism was defeated in her lifetime. Communism was
defeated in ours--defeated above all through the efforts of that
great American President, my friend Ronald Reagan. His name is
remembered in the title of this building. And it will be remembered
for as long as there are men and women on this earth who value
their liberty and honor those who secure it.
Ronnie's successor in the White House
today faces a different but no less mighty challenge. The success
in Afghanistan demonstrated that the doubters were wrong: the War
Against Terror can be won. But we still confront today a
twin-headed monster of terrorism and of proliferating weapons of
mass destruction. And both those heads must be removed if the beast
itself is to be destroyed.
Evil, it is true, has always been with us.
But evil was never so technically sophisticated, never so elusive,
never so devoid of scruple, and never so anxious to inflict
civilian casualties. The West must prevail--or else concede a reign
of global lawlessness and violence unparalleled in modern
glad that America's commander in chief is made of such stern
stuff--glad too that he is assisted by Vice President Cheney and
others in this room. I am also proud that Britain stands where we
must always stand--as America's surest and staunchest ally. Prime
Minister Blair and I are, as is well known, political opponents.
But in this vital matter I salute his strong, bold leadership.
POLITICAL PRINCIPLES--AND HERITAGE
friends: as the life of Clare Boothe Luce demonstrated, something
more is required in politics than simple pragmatism. It is, of
course, necessary to learn all the facts, to seek the best advice,
to reflect on the options before you decide the course to take. But
experience shows that if you lack a coherent set of beliefs and
principles, you will flounder. You must know already what you want,
and why, and broadly how best to attain it if you are ever to deal
effectively with the thousand-and-one crises that face you in
is why think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation are so crucial.
Your clarity of vision, based on a wise understanding of what
limited government in a free country requires, has allowed Heritage
to make an outstanding contribution to America. And not just
America. One mark of a country's political development is whether
its politicians take seriously the prescriptions offered by
Heritage scholars to cure a nation's ills. And I'm sure, Ed
[Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner], that you would
Heritage is the sworn enemy of
over-regulation, over-taxation, social engineering, health fascism,
and environmentalist hysteria. It is the friend of opportunity,
incentives, free trade, an effective rule of law, national
sovereignty, and strong defense. And so say all of us!
would be a sad day if conservatives failed to recognize how
immensely positive the results of that approach have been. And it
would be altogether inexplicable if this happened when our
opponents have reluctantly seen the merit of conservative insights
and policies. Thankfully, the likelihood of such folly is
diminished every time another Heritage Backgrounder lands on a
politician's desk. Please keep them landing!
friends: it is always good to come to America. Whereas other
countries remind you of problems, America teaches you
America today is the only global
super-power. Like it or not--and, on balance, I do like it--that is
a fact. Only America has the reach and means to deal with Osama bin
Laden or Saddam Hussein or the other wicked psychopaths who will
sooner or later step into their shoes. The rest of the world can
and should do more. But so often wealthy countries with much to
offer and more to lose just cheer--or grumble--on the
those who love liberty, the fortunes of America are even more our
preoccupation than in years gone by. So I make my own tonight the
words of the poet Longfellow:
... Sail on O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate.
Thank you for this wonderful award.
Margaret Thatcher served as
Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979-1990.